German-Indonesian Forum on Potential Cooperation in Indonesia’s Recycling Sector

There is a wide room for growth for Indonesia’s recycling industry. The right set of policies for waste separation followed by the right recycling technology will go far in maximizing the sector’s potential.

More than 100 people attended the German-Indonesian Forum on Potential Cooperation in Indonesia’s Recycling Sector at Ayana MidPlaza Jakarta on Thursday, September 19, 2019.

Held by the German-Indonesian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (EKONID), the event was organized as part of the export initiative “Environment Protection Made in Germany” of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The participants were made up of representatives of bilateral business interest of Indonesian and German companies, as well as their various institutions.

Among the speakers and attendants were EKONID Managing Director Jan Rönnfeld; Hendrik Barkeling, the Business Authority of the German Embassy, Ujang Solihin Sidik, Deputy Director of Goods and Packaging of the Waste Management Directorate at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry; Wilson Pandhika, General Secretary of the Indonesian Plastic Recyclers; as well as Randy Saputra, Treasurer of the Indonesian Plastic Recycling Association, among other stakeholders.

Mr. Rönnfeld said that EKONID was proud to host the German-Indonesian Forum on Potential Cooperation in Indonesia’s Recycling Sector. He said waste was a global issue and that the forum was a solid platform to further discuss current issues and the possible solutions within Indonesia’s recycling sector.

“I’m certain that the lessons we’ll learn and the networks we’ll make in this event can play an important role in our future efforts to reduce waste while maintaining economic growth,” he said.

Mr. Barkeling said that cooperation between Indonesia and Germany could be beneficial for both countries. He said the rapid growth of Indonesia’s economy would in turn contribute to the increase in consumption, adding that Indonesia produces 10 million tons of plastic each year and recycling only 8% of the number.

“Both of our nations are concerned about waste. Politically, it is important for Indonesia to increase its recycling capacity,” he said. “From our experience in Germany, this can open business and work opportunities. I think Indonesia can take advantage of this.”

Mr. Sidik from the ministry said the Indonesian government is aware of the nation’s waste problem and that it is continually working to encourage the Indonesian population to take an active role in managing waste, such as by separating organic and inorganic waste – a practice that has been estimated to be able to have a significant impact in reducing waste while at the same time propelling the growth of Indonesia’s recycling industry forward.

“We are very serious to make Indonesia clean and good. So we have, like I said before, we have already put the target, ambitious target, to reduce waste and to handle our waste properly. This is the indicators how government [is] very serious on this issue,” he said.

Don Kamarga, Managing Director of PT Beton Elemenindo Putra, a company that recycles polystyrene foam – also known as styrofoam – into building materials and floating structures, agreed that waste segregation is an important aspect of realizing the potential of Indonesia’s recycling industry. He commended EKONID for holding the forum as it further raises the awareness of both Germans and Indonesians on how both countries can improve cooperation in this sector.

“There’s always a solution where there’s a will. But again as I mentioned, there’s always the challenge of, as I mentioned during the discussion, the mindset and the behavior of our society. That has to be straightened up,” he said.